My AirPods Won't Connect To My iPhone! Here's The Real Fix.

David Lynch

DECEMBER 23, 2016

Your Apple AirPods won’t work and you don't know what to do. Your iPhone's software, hardware, and Bluetooth all need to be set up correctly whenever you use your AirPods, so tracking down the problem can be tricky — but I'll walk you through the process. In this article, I'll show you why your AirPods won't connect to your iPhone and how to fix the problem for good.

Do I Need A New Pair Of AirPods? Are My AirPods Broken?

At this point, it's impossible to say. AirPods aren't just another pair of Bluetooth headphones. Apple designed the AirPods with a custom W1 chip with built-in accelerometers (motion sensors) and other technology that allows your iPhone to take advantage of all the new features that Apple invented for the AirPods.

Even if your other Bluetooth headphones are working with your iPhone, that doesn't necessarily mean that your AirPods are broken. Even if you exchange your AirPods for a new pair, you could end up having the exact same problem if there is a hardware or software issue on your iPhone. Our guide will help you determine the real source of the problem so you can connect your AirPods to your iPhone and start listening to music.

How To Connect AirPods To Your iPhone

15 Steps Total
1.

Turn Your iPhone Off And Back On

When you turn off your iPhone, the operating system shuts down all the little background programs that keep your iPhone running. When you turn your iPhone back on, all those little background programs start fresh, and sometimes that’s enough to fix a simple software glitch.

How Do I Turn My iPhone Off And Back On?

  1. Press and hold the power button until "slide to power off" appears on the screen.
  2. Use your finger to swipe the red power button across the screen from left to right.
  3. Wait for your iPhone to turn all the way off. This may take up to 30 seconds.
  4. To turn your iPhone back on, press and hold the power button until the Apple logo appears on the screen.
  5. Let go of the power button and wait for your iPhone to turn on.
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2.

Turn On Bluetooth On Your iPhone

Turning on Bluetooth allows you to connect your iPhone to Bluetooth devices such as AirPods, keyboards, speakers, and more.

How Do I Turn On Bluetooth On My iPhone?

There are three ways to turn on Bluetooth on your iPhone:

How To Turn On Bluetooth In The Settings App

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap Bluetooth to open the Bluetooth menu.
  3. If the switch next to Bluetooth is green, then Bluetooth is already turned on.
  4. If the switch next to Bluetooth is gray, tap the switch with your finger to turn Bluetooth on.

How To Turn On Bluetooth In Control Center

  1. Use your finger to swipe up from below the screen to open Control Center.
  2. To turn on Bluetooth, tap the Bluetooth icon Bluetooth Iconwhich looks like a "B" made of triangles. If the icon is highlighted in blue, then Bluetooth is already turned on.

How To Turn On Bluetooth Using Siri

  1. Open Siri by pressing and holding the Home button until Siri appears, or say, "Hey Siri."
  2. Say, "Turn on Bluetooth." Siri will tell you if Bluetooth is already turned on.
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3.

Update Your iPhone Software In The Settings App

Apple puts out new software updates to improve efficiency, fix bugs, and introduce new features. Updating iOS can fix problems with your iPhone's software.

How Do I Update My iPhone Software In The Settings App?

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Software Update.
  4. Tap Install Now.
  5. Enter your passcode.
  6. The update will begin once it is verified.
  7. The update is complete after your iPhone restarts.
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4.

Set Up AirPods Using Your iPhone

Your iPhone needs to be connected to your AirPods before you can use them. AirPods are designed to easily connect to your iPhone as soon as you open the Charging Case.

How Do I Set Up AirPods Using My iPhone?

  1. Unlock your iPhone.
  2. Open the Charging Case with your AirPods inside.
  3. Hold the Charging Case next to your iPhone.
  4. A setup animation will appear on your iPhone.
  5. Tap Connect.
  6. Tap Done.
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5.

Charge Your AirPods

Charging your AirPods ensures that they will have enough battery life to function properly. AirPods are charged using the Charging Case.

  1. Put your AirPods in the Charging Case.
  2. When your AirPods are in the Charging Case, the Status light will indicate the amount of charge your AirPods have.
  3. The Status light will turn green when your AirPods are fully charged.
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6.

Charge The AirPods Charging Case

It may be a mouthful, but the Charging Case needs to be charged in order to charge your AirPods.

  1. Plug a Lightning cable into the Lightning connector on your Charging Case.
  2. Plug the other end of the Lightning cable into a USB port or wall charger.
  3. It may take a few hours to fully charge your Charging Case.
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7.

Clean Your AirPods and Charging Case

If dirt, dust, or other debris gets into your AirPods or Charging Case, it can affect their functionality and cause hardware problems. For example, if there is debris in your Charging Case, your AirPods may not charge properly.

  1. Get a soft, lint-free cloth. Don't use tissue or cloth that will break up inside your devices.
  2. Gently wipe your AirPods and Charging Case with the cloth.
  3. For more compact debris, you can use an anti-static brush or new toothbrush to clean it out.
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8.

Make Sure Your AirPods Are In Range Of Your iPhone

If your AirPods aren't within range of your iPhone, the devices won't be able to connect to each other. AirPods connect to your iPhone through Bluetooth, which only works when your devices are within a certain range of each other.

How Do I Make Sure My AirPods Are In Range Of My iPhone?

  1. Go to the Home screen.
  2. Open the Control Center by swiping up from below the bottom edge of the screen.
  3. Use your finger to swipe from right to left to open the audio interface (pictured on the left).
  4. Tap the audio output button Audio Output Icon , which looks like a triangle with three circles coming out of it.
  5. If your AirPods are not listed here as an audio output source, then your AirPods are out of range.
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9.

Put Your AirPods Into Bluetooth Pairing Mode

If your iPhone isn't logged into your iCloud account, you'll have to put your AirPods into Bluetooth pairing mode.

  1. Put your AirPods into the Charging Case.
  2. Keep the lid of your Charging Case open.
  3. Press and hold the setup button on the back of the Charging Case.
  4. When the status light begins to flash white, your AirPods are in Bluetooth pairing mode.
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10.

Pair Your iPhone With A Bluetooth Accessory

Your iPhone and the other Bluetooth device need to be paired before they can connect wirelessly.

How Do I Pair My iPhone With A Bluetooth Accessory?

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap Bluetooth.
  3. Tap the Bluetooth device you want to pair your iPhone with when the device appears under "My Devices."
  4. Some Bluetooth devices require you to enter a passkey or PIN.
  5. You'll know your iPhone is connected to the Bluetooth device when it says "Connected" to next to the name of the device.
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11.

Make Sure Your AirPods Are Connected To The Correct Device

If your AirPods are connected to a different device, they may be receiving audio output from the other device. AirPods are not designed to receive audio output from two devices at the same time.

How Do I Make Sure My AirPods Are Connected To The Correct Device?

  1. Go to the Home screen
  2. Using your finger, open Control Center by swiping up from below your screen.
  3. Use your finger to swipe from right to left to open the audio interface (pictured on the left).
  4. Tap the audio output button Audio Output Iconwhich looks like a small triangle with three circles coming out of it.
  5. Tap AirPods to connect your iPhone to your AirPods.
  6. If you do not see AirPods listed, they are out of range.
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12.

Turn Bluetooth Off And Back On Again

Turning Bluetooth off and back on again is sometimes enough to fix simple connectivity issues between your iPhone and Bluetooth devices.

How Do I Turn Bluetooth Off And Back On Again?

There are three ways to turn Bluetooth off and back on:

With The Settings App

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Bluetooth.
  4. Use your finger to tap the green switch next to Bluetooth to turn it off. You'll know Bluetooth is off when the switch is gray.
  5. Tap the switch again to turn Bluetooth back on. You'll the Bluetooth is on when the switch turns green.

With Control Center

  1. Use your finger to swipe up from the bottom of your screen to open Control Center.
  2. Use your finger to tap the Bluetooth icon Bluetooth Icon, which looks like a "B" made of triangles. You'll know Bluetooth is off when the icon is black with a gray background.
  3. To turn Bluetooth back on, tap the Bluetooth icon once again. You'll know Bluetooth is on when the icon is white with a blue background.

Using Siri

  1. Open Siri by pressing and holding the Home button until Siri appears, or by saying, "Hey Siri."
  2. To turn off Bluetooth, say, "Turn off Bluetooth."
  3. To turn Bluetooth back on, say, "Turn on Bluetooth."
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13.

Reset All Settings

Many iPhone problems are caused when Settings isn't set up correctly or by corruption within individual Settings app files. Restoring the Settings app back to factory defaults doesn't fix every iPhone software problem, but it is a go-to fix for Apple technicians because it does solve a lot of problems that would be very difficult to to track down by hand.

How Do I Reset All Settings?

  1. Go to the Home screen.
  2. Open the Settings app.
  3. Tap General.
  4. Use your finger to scroll down to Reset. It will be the last option in Settings -> General.
  5. Tap Reset All Settings.
  6. Enter your passcode.
  7. Tap Reset All Settings. You'll be prompted twice.
  8. A progress bar will appear on the screen.
  9. Your iPhone will automatically turn back on when the reset finishes.
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14.

DFU Restore Your iPhone

A DFU restore has the potential to fix software problems by completely erasing the code which may be causing your problem. The code is rewritten as if  your iPhone is brand new, so the software problem may get solved.

Think of it like a house that has cracks in the foundation. Rather than try and fix the cracks, we are building an entirely new foundation.

If you can, back up your iPhone before completing a DFU restore. Any time you do a restore, it erases everything from your iPhone. However, after the restore is completed, you restore all your backed up data back onto your iPhone.

How Do I DFU Restore My iPhone?

Watch our DFU restore video walkthrough on YouTube, or follow the steps below:

  1. Using a Lightning cable, plug your iPhone into a USB port on your computer.
  2. Open iTunes. It doesn’t matter if your iPhone is on or off.
  3. On an iPhone 6s or older, press and hold the Home button and the power button. On an iPhone 7, press and hold the power and volume down button.  
  4. After 8 seconds, release the Power Button, but continue to hold the power button (iPhone 6s or older) the volume down button (iPhone 7).
  5. Let go of the power button or volume down button when iTunes says “iTunes has detected an iPhone in recovery mode.”
  6. Your iPhone’s display will be completely black if you’ve successfully entered DFU mode. If it’s not, try again from the beginning.
  7. Restore your iPhone using iTunes.
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15.

Repair Your AirPods

If you've gotten this far and your AirPods still won't connect to your iPhone, you may have a hardware problem with your AirPods.

How Do I Repair My AirPods?

There are a few ways to repair your AirPods:

If You're Still Within The Return Window

  1. Bring your AirPods back to the store where you purchased them and exchange them for a new pair.

If You're Outside The Return Window

  1. Repair them through Apple's online support, or
  2. Make an appointment at the Genius Bar at your local Apple Store, or
  3. Set up an online mail-in repair through Apple's online support.
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Your AirPods Are Connected To Your iPhone!

Your AirPods are now connected to your iPhone and you can finally start enjoying your Bluetooth headphones! Now you know exactly how to keep your AirPods connected to your iPhone. Thanks for reading our article and we hope you share this with all the AirPods lovers you know. Feel free to leave us a comment down below if you have any further questions, or if you just want to tell us what you think about your AirPods!

AUTHOR

David Lynch

Hi, I'm David! I'm here to help you fix problems with your iPhone and help you find a better cell phone plan.

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Anonymous

Awesome information! Thank you!